Employers Encouraged to Adopt Guiding Principles for Conducting Impartial Workplace Investigations

Employers Encouraged to Adopt Guiding Principles for Conducting Impartial Workplace Investigations

I'm thrilled to be joining my fellow faculty members later this month to teach at the 5-day national training institute presented by the Association of Workplace Investigators ("AWI") in Santa Barbara, CA.  The AWI is a nonprofit with a stated mission "to promote and support workplace investigations as a distinct area of expertise and to enhance the quality of workplace investigations."  Although AWI is a relatively new organization (incorporated in 2009), it has grown quickly and today has over 350 members and the training institute has been sold out for over a month.

In 2012, the AWI released its Guiding Principles for Conducting Impartial Workplace Investigations.  These Guiding Principles were developed over a two and half-year period with input from the charter members of the AWI.  They provide a general framework and guidance for conducting internal investigations into allegations of workplace misconduct such as harassment, discrimination and retaliation.  Click here for a copy of the AWI Guiding Principles.

Here are a few of the reasons I encourage employers to consider implementing the AWI Guiding Principles.

Reinforce compliance with legal requirements. Being compliant with relevant legal requirements is the absolute minimum standard that organizations must achieve. The AWI Guiding Principles reinforce compliance but also provide a rationale as to why organizations should do more than the minimum.

Support active and positive procedures to responding to allegations of workplace misconduct.  The AWI Guiding Principles provide employers with information to establish processes and practices to follow when faced with an allegation of workplace misconduct that needs to be investigated.

Contribute to a fair and equitable work environment. The AWI Guiding Principles set the stage for developing processes that are clear, known and applied consistently.

Provide tools that will build organizational effectiveness. By implementing the AWI Guiding Principles, employers make a demonstrable commitment to excellence and fairness in the workplace, a concept increasingly important research shows to employees, especially Generation Y.

Read more articles about managing workplace conflict at Win-Win HR, a blog by Lorene Schaefer.

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